Tuesday, October 19, 2004no...no...my wife and I are still together (hee hee)...
The term itself has a negative aura about it, and yet it is a necessary thing in a holy Christian's life. In fact, holiness means SEPARATED or SET APART unto God. And by the way, I added "holy" before "Christian" for effect, I do not believe one can claim to be a Christian without a measure of holiness; we are after all, as Peter put it, a royal priesthood and an holy nation! Many though call themselves Christians but are separated from very little if anything at all.
So what are Christians suppose to be set apart from? What should they separate from in order to be called "holy"? Well, most serious Christians will agree to these:
-separation from the world:
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. " (1 John 2: 15-17)
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you OUT OF THE WORLD, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15: 19)
-separation from false teachers:
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Ephesians 5:11)
"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." (1 Timothy 6: 3-5)
-separation from disobedient Christians:
"A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." (Titus 3: 10-11)
"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us." (2 Thessalonians 3: 6)
On these, I believe most Christians agree. But we have a problem. The problem is in the application (kind of like: the devil is in the details). How and when do we separate? How and when do we tolerate? How much weight do we really put on 2 Corinthians 6: 14-18 (and where do we put that weight):
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
This is an area I believe the church is failing miserably in. So for the next few days, I will post some scenarios for you. Scenarios which I hope will get you thinking on whether one should separate or tolerate. I will post my position after a day or two.
Peace, and God bless you.